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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Ask a GM [04/20/2009]: Being a Player

  1. #46
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    I really like playing, but I do find it hard to be under a GM who runs a game in a setting that I know better than he does - and he butchers it. I've been a player in a couple of games set in Middle Earth, a setting I've run plenty, and I'm a Tolkien-buff in general. It was thoroughly nauseating and enthusiasm-killing to come across a community of hobbits who dwelt in harmony with giant spiders in a forest in southern Gondor! All verisimilitude - gone!!!

  2. #47
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    I like doing both, and I am fovorably well at both, I have no problems letting go of bieng a DM/GM, because I like to see what other people would like to do, and also because I play with people who stick to and know the rules, you could say that I am a rules lawer at some points but I try my hardest to stay away from that mentality.
    It's just hard for me not to be when I have to play a game where everything is so messed up that I have no clue anymore what I am playing.

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    I just have to find some place to say this... i really need to play. Hello!? Are any of my players reading this? Someone run something for the next few months! Seriously guys... i would really like to play that mean, dark spirited magus that i got to play that one time before - you know the one that BS'ed everyone and faked having more powers than he did? Bravado and brashness, not substance or effect... that was fun

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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    I tend to be overly critical of GM/DMs who are in any way "substandard" according to my opinions, frequently diminishing my enjoyment of what could otherwise be a pleasant enough session as a player due to my obsessing over often relatively small issues. I take pains to try not to apply my ideas on gaming theory to others, fully aware that everyone is different and that therein lies a great part of the experience, but much more often than I would like, I fail in this endeavor.
    Last edited by XeroDrift; 10-05-2009 at 08:11 AM.

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    I agree, its hard to let other take over - especially if its campaign play. I have a published set of guidelines of what i allow for "temporary" GM's... and i'm sure they gripe behind my back. I am ALWAYS critical of the other GM's - no one quite does it my way (which of course i think is best) but you have to learn to let go and have fun. I let temp GM's ask me for rulings and i always make sure i am fair, bur error against my character if there are questions - i want no hint of favoritism. I've seen a lot of GM's who play a character give the group items but its really just a clever disguise to get a specific item in the hands of their normal characters... so you have to watch out for that natural player inclination to 'want more'... and don't do it yourself - always be stingy. In a weird way, because any NPC/second tier character i run as part of a campaign in the GM role, they are always knowledge heavy and ability light. I have the opportunity to show players how to be clever without relying on power and uber items or abilities - it almost like i am trying to teach them how to do this on their own. Most players though are about confrontation and fighting and loot - and make sure you focus on what the group really wants because its just about having fun.

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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    A particularly common complaint of mine (which I generally keep to myself, unless venting my frustrations via a friend uninvolved with that particular game) is the tendency of many GMs to be overly generous with rewards, XP, loot, money, powerful items, etc... all of these things (among others) lose their value, in addition to tarnishing the sense of accomplishment, when won too cheaply or given too freely.

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    I have to say, I have found it uncomfortable being a player after DMing for so long. I find myself wanting more from my character's story, and wanting to craft it myself. For example, I wanted my human fighter to have two ogre bodyguards who were brothers that he picked up in a city one day, but my DM didn't allow it because he hadn't chosen it; that character had the leadership feat for it and I was willing to pay the gold for them, but because he hadn't made the characters, he didn't want me to have them. Which was frustrating.

    I also find myself playing less seriously. I'm rarely the party leader, not because I'm incapable of it, but because I'm no longer interested in playing that type of character. Instead, I play characters like my halfling rogue who wants nothing more than to collect the greatest collection of daggers ever collected, or my barbarian who has a wonderful mind for strategy in war and siege combat. I tend to go along with what the DM wants, because I know he wants us to go that direction, but I try to always do it in a way he would never expect.

    In other words, I end up setting my own goals for characters that often conflicts with what the DMs I've had try to do with my characters. Maybe it's simply because I haven't had a good DM since I started DMing, or maybe I'm just not a player who is easy to get along with as a DM. I dunno.
    Parentheses are (not) important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XeroDrift View Post
    A particularly common complaint of mine (which I generally keep to myself, unless venting my frustrations via a friend uninvolved with that particular game) is the tendency of many GMs to be overly generous with rewards, XP, loot, money, powerful items, etc... all of these things (among others) lose their value, in addition to tarnishing the sense of accomplishment, when won too cheaply or given too freely.
    This is especially difficult to control in a group with multiple GM's with varying styles. I get to play occasionally, but i found i had to write a gaming contract which set parameters around what other GM's are allowed to give out as rewards. Its too tempting to involve your own character in a encounter in order to give something to them - players are always grubbing for anything they can get. Some of that is my style - i'm not stingy, but i prefer story and ability over combat, items and stats, i don't give out much. Thats understood, but when i need a break it was Monty Haul for a while - hence a set of guidelines that limits what impact other GM's can have on a campaign. And if its not a full blown campaign, then i could care less - but i've not run serialized adventures in many years - its all about campaign and story for me.

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
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  9. #54
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    Wow, how far will this thread go?

    My official response is back on page one (somehow, I was one of the first to respond).

    I have read a few since then (I love the little bot that sends replies directly to my email), and I think what I am seeing is that people who have a hard time playing after being a DM consider themselves either players OR DMs.

    I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.

    We (everyone on this board) are role-players. Some might be more roll-players, but regardless, we all like sitting around and sharing a story as a group. Some like to write the story with no input from others; a few like to pick apart someone else's story without adding anything of value themselves; some like to add a tiny part without a real focus; others like to throw in a really good one-liner every now and then (nudge, nudge, say no more).

    Label away, but keep in mind that you aren't helping to define yourself; you are limiting yourself to a definition. I don't know a single person who falls in to one definable box.

    -Roy (egotistical, white, male, father, husband, fatty, etc.)

    Good luck out there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Handsomethrowrug View Post
    I have to say, I have found it uncomfortable being a player after DMing for so long. I find myself wanting more from my character's story, and wanting to craft it myself. For example, I wanted my human fighter to have two ogre bodyguards who were brothers that he picked up in a city one day, but my DM didn't allow it because he hadn't chosen it; that character had the leadership feat for it and I was willing to pay the gold for them, but because he hadn't made the characters, he didn't want me to have them. Which was frustrating.
    Sounds like you just need to find the right kind of DM who is interested in having his players participate more in the creation of the story. Many DMs would KILL to have players like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegriffins1234 View Post
    I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.
    I don't think that it is labeling or limiting oneself. Some people prefer to be in the DMs chair and just don't like being players, while others are uncomfortable being in the DM hot seat and just want to play. Some are comfortable and enjoy either role. It's more about saying which aspect of the game you enjoy most.
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  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegriffins1234 View Post

    I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.
    The human mind by its very nature divides and categorizes information. In order for the mind to differentiate between different bits of information, it must have some way of distinguishing between one piece and another.

    In animals this is accomplished by association, but with our capacity for higher thought and facility for language, we have evolved a much greater ability for definition. The mind "labels" everything, broad categories which are subsequently broken down into increasingly smaller and more specifically detailed bits of information. There is no other way for us to accurately quantify the world around us, this is how we are built.

    Psychologically speaking, an aversion to "labels" describing people in relation to one another, their place in society, and how they are viewed in that society stems from a disdain for certain values specific to the culture to which they are subject. In most cases, this is predicated by a dissatisfaction with the perceived "labels" with which they themselves are associated. Generally due to a desire to have a different set of "labels" apply to them, usually ones more favorable in their personal opinion and/or to those held by society at large.

    The impact of this mentality most often results in the development of various emotional defense mechanisms, such as detachment, self-deprecation, hostility, among others. The prevalent methods of any particular individual depend upon the nature and experiences of that individual.

    The abolishment of categorization is impossible, but it IS possible, even desirable, to accept differences (and people) for what they are. Instead of striving not to recognize demarcations, one should come to terms with them, and realize the beauty of diversity.
    Last edited by XeroDrift; 10-10-2009 at 06:07 PM.

  12. #57
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    Well put

    Very well said Xero, and I should clarify, it is not the labels themselves, nor the process of labeling per se which I disdain, but the "other" mentality that springs from the "little box" method of understanding. By defining the world in terms of what fits neatly into a predetermined zone, I think one limits oneself from the possibility of something being very different from ones initial perception. Also, I think that for many, defining something allows boundaries to be drawn that can then be used to outline "mine" and "yours". While I don't find that kind of selfish ownership to be completely without merit, I do find that most people who cling derely to it are without moral merit (though, as I said in my original response, even the worst human beings can help a person better understand themself).

    We certainly agree that diversity should be embraced, but I tend to hold back some from too clearly defining the possible and impossible. I will say though, that self-deprecating humor is just plain fun (and I certainly do not consider my self a masochist).

    Farcaster, I did not intend to redefine the question. I was approaching this originally, and in my re-response(s) from the context of the game as a whole. I do feel that everyone should add to the overall story, and development should not be limited to new hit points, but discussion between players and DMs for the future of the individual characters and the primary story arcs. I believe the best games are ones where everyone is part of the creative process. Knowing which direction to go without talking to the magic mouth, answering the troll's riddle, or fighting through the green skinned humanoids just wouldn't be as fun, so there has to be a DM. But being a player shouldn't limit a person's involvement in the game.

    Or, I might have missed the point entirely.

    Good luck out there!

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    I do not mind being a player since I have been primarily the GM in my 26 years in role playing. I try my best to help the new GM with the rules and advice, but I let them run their game as they see fit. It is a matter of respect between two players. He/she respects me enough to run my game as I see fit and I respect his/her enough to run their game as they see fit. For me, it is never about control and some GMs view it as such. They have to be in control at all times and not be open to new interpretations of the same source material from another GM.

    I feel that being a player gives a GM a new perspective to see things from the other side of the screen. In doing so, they can learn on how to approach things in a different way if they are willing. I also feel that by being a player a GM can cut loose and have fun with a single character while contributing to the overall game. They can have their character do all sorts of crazy actions that they normally do not get to do with NPCs. Finally, I feel that being a player helps the GM with characterization of the NPCs in their own world by being able to connect to a single character and play it exclusively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Sounds like you just need to find the right kind of DM who is interested in having his players participate more in the creation of the story. Many DMs would KILL to have players like that.
    Lol, well maybe that is all it is. I do know that since I started DMing, I as a player have become fully capable at filling an entire session with things I want to do if the DM doesn't nudge me in any direction. As an example, I recently played a young summoness (is that a word?) in the first session of a very short-lived campaign. The first session, the DM didn't have anything planned except for the world itself, so I traveled with a caravan, shrunk myself down to the size of a bug to play a trick on one of the children to get him to go on an "epic quest" to save me (I told him I was fey), then picked a fight with a tavern keeper, whose tavern I proceeded to rob twice after making a name for my spider that I summoned while no one was watching that I used as a distraction for stealing other various items from around the town. It was a fun night for me, but I felt a little bad for the other player who didn't get to do much but follow me around.
    Parentheses are (not) important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by templeorder View Post
    This is especially difficult to control in a group with multiple GM's with varying styles.
    I generally make it a rule for characters (at least those in my games) to be GM specific.

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